Reviews /

Illumibugs

Authored by Barbara Taylor
Illustrated by Carnovsky
Published by Wide Eyed Editions

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Illumibugs is the latest in the highly appealing ‘Illumi-‘ series, one that vividly portrays a variety of scientific angles, from nature to anatomy.

Here, the world of ‘bugs’ is pulled apart in fine detail, starting with a clear set of instructions on how to use the book. First, we read our background information, which is set out broadly into continents, as well as an intriguing section on prehistoric bugs. We are then invited to the Observation Deck, the part where we get to don our 3D viewers and pick out insects, plant life, and other creepy-crawlies. Finally, we turn the page once more to learn more about each species and its features. This is all very well organised, and the brief information about each species will have children giggling and recoiling in equal measure.

From a child’s point of view, this book is thoroughly engrossing. It is visually appealing, informative and one that can be read front-to-back or dipped in and out of. The detail provided by Carnovsky (the nom de plume of Italian duo Francesco Rugi and Silvia Quintanilla) is an open invitation to explore – you could look at the pages several times and always find something new. And of course, the 3D element is the USP of this kind of book, and one that always goes down well with children.

From a teacher’s point of view, I would have one small (and maybe pedantic) gripe, which is the use of the term ‘bugs’. While this is addressed in the opening pages, stating that ‘we have used a more informal definition of bugs’, it would concern me that children go away thinking that the correct scientific term for a spider or a snail is a bug, rather than arachnid or mollusc. Why not use these terms? This slight dumbing-down narrows the audience somewhat, and I would place this in a KS1 or lower KS2 classroom as a result.

Nonetheless, I know that children of all ages will enjoy poring and peering at the weird and wonderful insects (and other ‘bugs’!) that are so important to our planet.